By Sarah Fielding
I am a twenty-year-old woman. I don’t claim to speak for anyone else but me, but I suspect many other women feel the same way I do. And I’m angry.
No I’m not angry that a guy broke my heart or that I didn’t get straight A’s or whatever society probably thinks I would be angry about at this age. I’m angry because I am about to graduate college into a country that no longer seems to respect my rights as a woman. On November 8th, 2016, I stood in line for an hour and a half waiting to vote for the first time in what I was sure would be a historic election. Later I joined the crowds outside the Jacob Javits Center excited to cheer on our first Madam President. At night, huddled around a computer in a friend’s dorm as the results became clearer, the disbelief I felt was overwhelming.
The truth of the matter is, the problem is not that we, as a society, did not elect the first woman president, although that was a terrible disappointment. The real problem is that we elected a boy — the title “man” must be earned — who is so out of touch, horrible, and lacking basic human dignity that to entrust him with our nation feels like something out of a bad campfire story. A boy who counts the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis as fans. A boy who would rather grab women in their private parts than actually hear what they, as human beings, need.
This week it was announced that the first steps towards dismantling the Affordable Care Act had begun. Apparently pregnancy could be considered a preexisting condition, which will disqualify pregnant women from obtaining coverage for it. At the same time, women stand to lose control over the choice to have that preexisting condition.
I’m not pregnant, but I’ll still be harmed: I’ve had to take birth control for five years now for medical reasons — my period, that thing boys are so scared to even acknowledge the existence of, is excruciatingly horrible without this pill. I’ve had to miss school while laying on the floor writhing in pain. Until now, I’ve been able to get these pills at no cost. New proposals would raise it to $50 a pop, $600 a year.
It’s been said over and over that if women were a greater percentage of the decision makers in Congress then none of this would be happening. I agree with that but I also think if there weren’t so many other boys occupying the seats and men and women were working towards the greater good, something beneficial would get done.
I’ve been angry for two and a half months now and I honestly wonder if there’s a time during these next four years a part of me won’t be. These days it feels like the term “We the People” keeps applying to an ever smaller group. A very “us versus them” sort of thing.
I’m angry because I thought we were supposed to ban those who bully on social media, not reward them. I’m angry because the hope that I’ve believed in for the past eight years is being dismantled piece by piece when it hasn’t even left the building yet. I’m angry because as a female college student studying fashion, my thoughts are tossed aside by boys who think they know better. I’m angry because I feel the war for freedom in this country might never be over. I’m angry because I will survive this but I am only the exception not the rule. What about all my fellow human beings who will not have access to birth control, get pregnant and not be allowed an abortion when they cannot afford and are not ready to raise a child? What about my fellow human beings who will wake up worried their parents will be deported while they’re away at school trying to make a better life for themselves? What about my fellow human beings whose Vice President tells them that their love is a disease that needs to be cured?
Since the election I’ve told a lot of people that I refuse to stop being angry because to stop feels an awful lot like acceptance. This boy may be my president on January 20th but I will never accept what he stands for and I will never stop doing everything I can to support those hurt by his policies. On January 21st I will join the March On Washington and remind the incoming administration that women are not toys to be ogled and played with. We are intelligent, we are diverse, we are beautiful, we deserve the right to our own body and we will be angry until we get it.
This was a historic election. Historic in the fact that it served to disillusion any ideas we had that this country was united, tolerant and respectful of all types of people.
To the boy with his suitcase ready to move into the big white house, I say this: You build a wall, we’ll tear it down. You take away our rights, we’ll march from one coast to the next. You discriminate against one of us, we’ll stand by that person’s side. You tweet fake news about us, we will speak the truth about us. You say that some of us matter more than others. I’m here to tell you, we are equal, and will stand up for our rights. And as I said, we are angry.